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How to Bet on Duke: UNDERs May be Your Friend

College Basketball Betting Trends: How to bet on the Duke Blue Devils

UPDATE: Since writing this article, Duke has played two more games and bookmakers have set the total at 151 vs Clemson and 155.5 vs Wake Forest. The Blue Devils split those games but continued to go UNDER 160 points, with the Clemson game having a combined score of 155 and the Wake Forest game finishing at 153. It appears 155 is an interesting threshold now as Duke has gone UNDER or pushed that total in nine of its 14 games and its last six in a row.

As we enter conference play, you may be looking at the No. 1 Duke Blue Devils as a lock to win the national championship in early April. However, there are lots of games to be played before we get there and betting the UNDER on Duke’s matches may fill your bankroll in the meantime. The UNDER has come through in 11 of the Blue Devils’ first 14 games of the season for a profit of $700 based on $100 bets on every UNDER this season and I’m going to break down why this trend may continue into conference play.

High-Powered Offense Leading to High Totals

Duke opened the season by flexing its muscles against then-No. 2 Kentucky, racking up 118 points en route to a 34-point victory and taking the nation by storm. Since then, the Blue Devils have topped 100 points only two more times and, on the season, they are averaging 91.6 points per game, the second-highest in college basketball. So logically, the totals have been high with oddsmakers such as Bovada setting the line at an average of 162.29, but Duke’s average combined score has been 155.33, topping 160 points just twice.

Duke has gone UNDER in 11 of its 14 games

The two games that went OVER for the Blue Devils in their 2-10 O/U record came against two top-20 offenses in Kentucky and Gonzaga. The Wildcats game was the season opener, which had a combined score of 202 with Duke scoring 118 points, which may have been a bit of an aberration as since then, Kentucky has had just two teams top 80 points. In the Bulldogs match, Gonzaga shot 52.6 percent from beyond the arc and nearly 70 percent from the floor in the first half, which led to a combined score of 176.

The offensive numbers are a little inflated, though. While Duke is averaging 91.6 ppg, five of its 12 games have come against defenses that rank 200th or worse in points allowed per game out of 353 teams. When you exclude those five games, the Blue Devils average 88 points per game and that is elevated with the 118-84 victory over Kentucky. Moving forward, Duke doesn’t face another team that is currently ranked 200th or worse defensively, so expect its point total to decline and if totals don’t adjust, you can hammer the UNDER.

Defense not getting any love

With the explosive offense that Duke possesses, there hasn’t been much talk about how strong its defense has been thus far. The Blue Devils limit their opponents to just 63.8 points per game, the 31st-best mark in college basketball, but be aware that rises to 73.4 ppg away from home.

Similar to their offensive metrics, they have had four games against teams that rank 200th or worse for points scored per game and the Blue Devils held those opponents to just 54.25 ppg. In the remaining eight games against top-200 offenses, they give up an average of 68.5 ppg, which would rank 92nd in college basketball. Moving forward, Duke has three games against teams that rank 200th or worse offensively and those are perfect games to hammer the UNDER.

How should you approach Duke for the remainder of the season?

If books continue to post totals more than 160 points, continue to pound the UNDER. There have only been three games with totals UNDER 160 points, and two of those went UNDER and in only three games all season has the combined score gone OVER 160 points.

Keep an eye on big offensive threats in UNC and NC State, though. If the total is set at 165 or lower for the Wolfpack and 170 or lower for the Tar Heels, that is when you should be on the OVER. Additionally, Georgia Tech and Syracuse each rank 200th or worse offensively and if the total is set at 150 or higher, you should be back on the UNDER.